Action Alert – PA Parole Board Must Grant Janet and Janine Africa Parole!

Take action Monday, June 25th – Wednesday, June 27th

Janine Africa

          Janine Africa

On Saturday, June 16, MOVE member Debbie Africa was released on parole from State Correctional Institution (SCI) Cambridge Springs after 39 years and 10 months of incarceration.

Fellow MOVE members Janet and Janine Africa, however, were denied parole despite having virtually identical Department of Corrections records as Debbie.

Janet, Janine, and Debbie all:

– Have gone more than 20 years without a misconduct for any rule violation

– Were recommended for parole by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

– Were recommended for parole by former PA DOC Secretary Martin Horn

– Were recommended for parole by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office

– It is beyond dispute that Debbie, Janet and Janine present zero threat to public safety

 

Janet Africa

            Janet Africa

The Parole Board has denied them the opportunity to return home based on unlawful factors. Claiming the two minimized the offense and did not express remorse, the Board ignored the only relevant assessment under Pennsylvania law: that the two do not present a threat to public safety.

 

The Parole Board also lied, claiming that Janet and Janine received the negative recommendation of the prosecuting attorney, when in truth Philadelphia’s District Attorney, Larry Krasner, recommended all three women – Debbie, Janet, and Janine – for parole, his office stating that it “was “confident” that Janet and Janine “will not pose a threat to the Philadelphia community” and that their “continued incarceration does not make our city safer.”

Take Action

Call the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons and Parole Chairman Leo Dunn:

Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole: (717) 787-5699 – Ask for Chairman Leo Dunn’s office

Send Email message: ra-pbppopc@pa.gov

Talking Points:

– Janet and Janine have not had any rule violation in more than 20 years
– Each has the support of the DOC, former DOC Secretary and nationally-renowned corrections expert Martin Horn, and the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office
– Janet and Janine do not present a threat to public safety and should be released just like Debbie
– The Board must stop making political decisions in the MOVE cases: when judged on their record in the DOC and community support Janet and Janine have a right to be released

Demand:

– That Leo Dunn agree to have the Board reconsider its denial
– Grant Janet and Janine Africa release on parole

Read more on Facebook

After 40 years, first of MOVE 9 is paroled – but others denied

June 19, 2018, updated
Reprint from Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News by Samantha Melamed

Debbie, Alia (granddaughter) and Mike Jr (son) Africa

It was a strange sendoff for Debbie Africa, as Janine and Janet Africa helped her pack, talked about the future, and quietly tried to make sense of their diverging fates.

On Saturday, Debbie Africa left the State Correctional Institution Cambridge Springs and, after 38 years, became the first of the MOVE Nine to be released on parole. She also said goodbye to two women she’s been incarcerated with for four decades. Both were denied parole last week, for reasons Debbie Africa can’t understand.

“Although I felt excited and overwhelmed and happy,” Debbie Africa said, “I still felt incomplete, because I left prison and my sisters Janine and Janet didn’t. We came in on the same charges. We had the same everything. But when it came time to get out of prison, they didn’t do that the same. It’s a bittersweet victory for me.”

With an electronic monitor around her ankle and her son, Michael Jr., born while she was at the House of Correction, at her side, Africa, 62, made her first public appearance Tuesday at a news conference in the basement of the Faith Immanuel Lutheran Church in East Lansdowne.

Along with eight other members of MOVE, often described as a radical back-to-nature group, she was convicted of murder and sentenced to 30 to 100 years in prison after a 1978 standoff at its Powelton Village compound, where Philadelphia Police Officer James J. Ramp was killed and 18 police officers and firefighters were injured. At the trial and since, MOVE members have maintained that they did not fire any shots. None of the three women were found to have possessed weapons.

Debbie Africa as seen on the cover of the Daily News in 1978.

Debbie Africa as seen on the cover of the Daily News in 1978.

That incident came seven years before the infamous bombing of the MOVE compound on Osage Avenue that left 11 dead. Debbie Africa heard about that event in her prison cell.

“None of us believed it,” she said. “When the officers came to tell us, we actually said, ‘Get away from our door, because it’s not true.’ It was devastating.”

But nothing, she said, was worse than giving up her son just three days after he was born. She also has a daughter, Michelle, who was just 2 years old at the time.

“That was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do — and then feeling that emptiness,” she said.

She said her constant belief in MOVE’s values had kept her strong. Michael Jr. was raised by MOVE members, and continues to believe in what he describes as a prescient environmental ideology.

His father, Michael Africa, is incarcerated at Graterford Prison, and will be considered for parole in September. Michael Jr. said having his mother stay with him in his home outside Philadelphia has started to make him realize just how much he missed.

“I saw her feet. I noticed this was the first time I ever seen her feet before,” he said. “A friend of mine said to me, ‘You are learning at almost 40 what babies learn about their parents.'”

Delbert Africa being attacked by Philadelphia police

Delbert Africa, attacked and arrested in 1978, has been denied parole since 2008.

Debbie Africa, now a grandmother of nine, said she had sought parole nine times since 2008. This time, she had help from a group of legal advocates including Brad Thomson, a Chicago-based lawyer with the People’s Law Office. He submitted thick packets for each woman with dozens of letters of recommendation, certificates of achievement, “exemplary” conduct reports and other supporting materials, including a review of their records by Martin Horn, a former Pennsylvania corrections secretary.

Berta, Janine and Merle Africa

Berta, Janine and Merle Africa mourn the police murder of Janine’s baby Life Africa.

The parole board’s decision to release Debbie Africa, whose legal name is Debbie Sims, cited her positive adjustment and a recommendation from the District Attorney’s Office.

The decisions for Janet (Holloway) and Janine (Phillips), however, cite negative recommendations from the prosecutor.

A spokesperson for District Attorney Larry Krasner said Krasner had provided positive recommendations for all three women. A representative for the parole board declined to provide clarification, noting that communications to the parole board are confidential.

Two members of the group have died in prison. The others, ages 58 to 72, remain eligible for parole.

“They all have similar stories in terms of being mentors, deescalating conflict within the prison,” Thomson said.

Robert Holbrook, a juvenile lifer who was released four months ago, worked on the case as a paralegal with the Abolitionist Law Center. He’s hoping Debbie’s husband, Michael Africa Sr., will be the next to come home.

“He was a mentor to a lot of us young guys coming through,” he said. “He would help us navigate prison culture and maintain a positive outlook, as we, unfortunately, grew up in prison.”

The couple have communicated only in letters for 40 years. Michael Jr. said he hopes the peaceful life his family longed for will be possible at last. “We’re on the path now to make our family whole.”

MOVE member Debbie Africa released

By Betsey Piette
June 17, 2018
Reprinted from Workers World

Debbie Africa with her son, Mike Africa, after her release on parole.

Philadelphia — In the early morning of June 16, after nearly 40 years of unjust imprisonment by the state of Pennsylvania, political prisoner and MOVE 9 member Debbie Sims Africa was granted parole and released from the State Correctional Institution-Cambridge Springs.

Messaging on Instagram, the MOVE Organization wrote: “Our sister Debbie Africa is FREE! What a beautiful day to find freedom! Let’s keep fighting for our bros and sisters still behind bars — Mike [Sr.], Eddie, Chuck, Janet, Janine and Delbert! The struggle is underway!”

This important victory comes exactly two years after Debbie, Janet and Janine Africa were last denied parole in 2016. Two MOVE members, Phil and Merle Africa, have died in prison, causes unexplained. Other surviving MOVE members, including Eddie, Mike Sr., Delbert and Chuck Africa have been repeatedly denied parole since 2008, when they first became eligible under the 30-to-100-year sentences imposed after a police officer was killed during a raid on their home.

The Fraternal Order of Police, with members on the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, has consistently pushed for parole denials, claiming that MOVE members “refused to accept responsibility,” “lacked remorse” or posed a “risk to the community.”

Debbie Africa’s son, Mike Africa Jr., noted: “They don’t really want to be so quick to let people who are accused of killing a cop on parole. … [T]he parole board seems to be retrying them, asking them questions about the incident that seem to have nothing to do with the years they’ve spent. It’s supposed to be, ‘Have you been rehabilitated and can you be a member of a society and a productive citizen?’ The case has nothing to do with it.” (www.metro.us, April 25)

Forty years since brutal police assault

Free the MOVE 9 - 40 Years Too Long!MOVE, a Philadelphia-based Black Liberation organization, was founded by John Africa in 1972. MOVE maintained the mantle against police brutality and environmental destruction after all-out state campaigns decimated the ranks of the Black Panther Party and other liberation groups.

In May 1977 police obtained a court order requiring MOVE to vacate their Powelton Village home. What followed was a tense 15-month siege of the surrounding neighborhood, including shutting off water to the house and preventing food or aid to be sent to the family. Throughout the ordeal, neighbors stepped up to support the family.

This Aug. 8 marks the 40th anniversary of the all-out assault by thousands of police on the MOVE house in 1978. When the family still refused to leave their home, police launched an early morning raid, using thousands of rounds of munitions, water cannons, and tear gas to destroy the compound and drive the family out.

During the raid, Philadelphia Police Officer James P. Ramp was killed by a shot to the back of the head. All MOVE 9 members were convicted of third-degree murder and conspiracy, even though no evidence linked any of them to the shooting. In fact, by immediately razing the entire property, police destroyed any potential evidence that would have helped the MOVE 9 prove their innocence. Police made no efforts to preserve the crime scene or measure for ballistic angles.

Debbie Africa, then 22 years old, was in the house during the 1978 attack with her 23-month-old daughter, Michelle. She was eight and a half months pregnant with her second child, Mike Jr. She has described the terror of the police attack. (onamove.com/move-9/debbie-africa/) When family members woke up to find police surrounding their home, they quickly gathered up children and dogs, going to the basement where they thought they would be safe.

“We huddled together scared because we knew cops had lots of guns and other weapons, we didn’t know how they were gonna do it, but we knew their plan was to kill us. Cops were yelling over a loudspeaker for us to come out the house … but we didn’t trust them so nobody went out there.”

Debbie described how police used fire hoses to forcefully spray water through a broken window in the basement, with enough impact to throw two-by-four oak beams across the room, literally tearing the house apart and killing dogs in the process. Then a second wave of water came through another window, catching them in a crossfire of water. The cops started throwing smoke bombs and tear gas into the basement and began shooting directly at the people inside. The smoke was so dense Debbie could not see her child’s face.

While she survived the raid, Debbie’s daughter was snatched from her arms by police. On Sept. 15, 1978, in a prison cell, she gave birth to her son. Debbie wrote: “I have not been able to physically mother my son and daughter, who are now parents themselves. Two of my MOVE sisters who are in prison with me, Janine and Janet, both had young children at home on Osage Ave. when we were sent to prison, and their children were murdered on May 13, 1985, by the same Philadelphia cops who attempted to murder us on August 8, 1978.”

The struggle must continue

Debbie’s release did not come because the state suddenly decided to do the right thing. It was the result of a 10-year consistent campaign to win parole for the MOVE 9. More work remains to be done.

Mike Jr. noted that the FOP’s push to deny the MOVE 9 parole extended to other political prisoners. In 2016, when former Black Panther Party member Sundiata Acoli, age 80, was to be paroled by court order, police “unions” successfully challenged this all the way to higher courts, getting his sentence extended for another 15 years.

Another former BBP member, Veronza Bowers, was due to be released on mandatory federal parole in 2004 only to have the gates closed on him after intervention by the FOP. This March 13, when Herman Bell was granted parole in New York state after 44 years in prison, police organizations tried to get the parole rescinded. As a result of public pressure, Bell was finally released on April 27.

However, despite the FOP, the movement to free the MOVE 9, Mumia Abu-Jamal and all political prisoners will continue buoyed by Debbie’s victory. There is no sitting on the sidelines. Find out more about the MOVE 9 and their fight for freedom at Facebookonamove.com and move9parole.blogspot.com and

(Photo: @producertommy)

August 8th is Day of Resistance for the MOVE 9 in Philadelphia

Free the MOVE 9!Wednesday, August 8, 2018, will mark Forty Years since the Move 9 have been unjustly imprisoned for a crime the entire world knows they did not commit.

Day of Resistance for the MOVE 9

On August 5, 2018, we are asking people to join us for a Day of Resistance For The Move 9.

Running Down the Walls

First at 10:00 am join us for Running Down The Walls a 5k run organized for The Move 9 by our Brothers And Sisters From The Philadelphia Anarchist Black Cross that will take place at Fairmount Park. To register for the run people can go to https://phillyabc.wordpress.com/rdtw/

Afternoon Panel on MOVE

Then at 3:00 pm join us at The Mastery Shoemaker High School located 5301 Media Street, Philadelphia, PA for an Afternoon Panel On MOVE that will feature Ramona Africa, Pam Africa, Professor Walter Palmer, Karen Falcon and others.

Framed in America Concert

Then later that evening at the same venue we will be holding our Framed In America Concert as acts are still being confirmed so far we have The Raw Life Crew, Dell P, Seraiah Nicole and Eli Capella, Jasiri X and a surprise Headliner. We look forward to seeing everyone on August 5th.

After a sham trial, the MOVE 9 were each sentenced to 30-100 years. There was no physical evidence linking them to the crime and a great deal of evidence showing they could not have committed the crime. During the ten years of the parole process, and the 40 years of being unjustly imprisoned, MOVE has always maintained their innocence. The reason that they have remained in prison all these years is the same reason why they went to prison in the first place because they are committed MOVE members.

On March 13, 1998, Merle Africa died in Pennsylvania Prisons under mysterious circumstances after being unjustly jailed for 20 years. On January 10th 2015, Phil Africa died under mysterious circumstances at the State Correctional Institution in Dallas, Pennsylvania after spending 30 plus years unjustly jailed. Rather than grant parole or release MOVE this system and its officials would rather see MOVE die in prison. While Pennsylvania makes strides in repairing the issue of mass incarceration one of the biggest taints in Pennsylvania’s history of mass incarceration and injustice has not been repaired and that is the issue of The Move 9 as it relates to their release from imprisonment.

The Parole Board has pushed the issue of remorse being shown but the question that we want to ask is “has the Parole Board shown any remorse to the children and grandchildren of The Move 9?” The Fact that several of the Move 9 have grandchildren, some even great-grandchildren that they have only been with on a prison visit is heart-wrenching. Where is the remorse from The Parole Board over the fact that children were torn from their parents’ arms forty years ago and forced to have a relationship with their parents only through phone calls, letters, and occasional visits which may have lasted only three hours?

Also at this time, we are still encouraging people to sign our petition aimed at The United States Justice Department at https://www.causes.com/campaigns/92454-free-the-move-9

ONA MOVE
ORIE

Facebookhttps://facebook.com/Justice-For-The-Move-9-1554141098166210/

Instagram: The MOVE Organization Instagram

Debbie Africa Press Conference on Tuesday, June 19, 2018 in East Lansdowne, PA church

MEDIA RELEASE: MOVE Member Debbie Africa Released on Parole After Over 39 Years in Prison

Media Contacts

Brad Thomson bradjaythomson@gmail.com 773-297-9689

Bret Grote bretgrote@abolitionistlawcenter.org 412-654-9070

Debbie AfricaJune 18, 2018: On Tuesday, June 19, 2018, at 10 a.m., MOVE member Debbie Africa will make her first public appearance since being released from prison after 39 years and 10 months of incarceration. On Saturday, June 16, Debbie was released on parole from State Correctional Institution (SCI) Cambridge Springs. Debbie will be speaking at a press conference that will be held at Faith Immanuel Lutheran Church, at 65 Penn Blvd. in East Lansdowne, Pennsylvania. Other speakers will include Debbie’s son Mike Africa Jr. and Brad Thomson, one of Debbie’s attorneys.

Debbie said, “I am happy to finally be home with my family, but Janet, Janine and the rest of the MOVE 9 are still in prison, in the same situation that I was in and they deserve parole too.”

Debbie was imprisoned since August 8, 1978, following an altercation between the Philadelphia police and the MOVE Organization. Debbie was one of 9 MOVE members, collectively known as the “MOVE 9,” who were convicted and sentenced to 30-100 years in prison following the altercation.

Debbie was eight months pregnant at the time of the incident and gave birth in jail to her son, Mike Africa Jr. Debbie has been incarcerated for Mike’s entire life and the two spent time together outside of prison for the first time on Saturday, following Debbie’s release.

“After being born in jail and never being with my mom or dad, I’m happy to be with my mom at home for the first time ever in almost forty years. But my family is still incomplete because my dad is still in prison. Forty years of separation is not over for our family,” said Mike Africa, Jr. His father, Mike Africa Sr. is also one of the MOVE 9 and still in prison. Mike Sr. is scheduled to next appear before the parole board this upcoming September.

Janet Africa and Janine Africa, also of the MOVE 9, were denied parole after appearing before the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole (PBPP) on the same day as Debbie. Debbie is the first member of the MOVE 9 to be granted parole. The surviving members of the MOVE 9 have been eligible for parole since 2008 and have each been denied parole when previously appearing before the PBPP.

One of Debbie’s lawyers, Bret Grote, of Abolitionist Law Center, stated, “This historic release of Debbie Africa renders the Parole Board’s decision to deny Janet and Janine all the more incomprehensible, as each has maintained DOC records that are as exemplary and essentially identical to that of Debbie.”

Debbie had not had a misconduct for violating prison rules since 1992. She also received the recommendation of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC), as well as recommendations from Corrections expert and former DOC Secretary Martin Horn, and Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. Janet and Janine also received the support of the DOC, Martin Horn, and the District Attorney’s Office.

In letters written to Leo Dunn, the Chairman of the PBPP, Carolyn Engel Temin, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office First Assistant, wrote on behalf of District Attorney Larry Krasner that she was “confident” that Janet and Janine “will not pose a threat to the Philadelphia community” and that their “continued incarceration does not make our city safer.” In spite of these letters, the PBPP cited the “negative recommendation of the prosecuting attorney” as a basis for denial.

Brad Thomson, of the People’s Law Office, who is also a lawyer for Debbie, Janet, and Janine stated: “It is shocking that Janet and Janine were denied parole. Their circumstances and institutional records are nearly identical to Debbie’s. The decision to deny Janet and Janine appears arbitrary and it is difficult to understand how the Parole Board could justify it based on the facts that were presented.”

“The Parole Board has the opportunity to correct its mistake regarding Janet and Janine, stop playing politics with parole determinations for the MOVE 9, and release our clients,” said Bret Grote of the Abolitionist Law Center, who also represents the women. “If they do not take the chance to do the right thing, however, we fully intend to vindicate our clients’ rights and keep fighting until they join Debbie.”

In addition to Janet, Janine and Mike Sr., three other members of the MOVE 9 remain incarcerated, as two died in custody. During the August 8, 1978 altercation, a Philadelphia police officer was killed and following a highly politicized trial, the MOVE 9 were convicted of third-degree homicide. All nine were sentenced to 30-100 years in prison. The six surviving members of the MOVE 9 are all eligible for parole.

Debbie Sims Africa, 61, granted parole and freed!

By Ed Pilkington
The Guardian
June 18, 2018

Debbie Sims Africa

Debbie Sims Africa was 22 when she was sentenced. Her release is seen as a major breakthrough for those imprisoned during the black liberation movement. Photograph: Courtesy of Michael Davis Africa Jr

The first member of a group of black radicals known as the Move Nine who have been incarcerated, they insist unjustly, for almost 40 years for killing a Philadelphia police officer has been released from prison.

Debbie Sims Africa, 61, walked free from Cambridge Springs prison in Pennsylvania on Saturday, having been granted parole. She was 22 when with her co-defendants she was arrested and sentenced to 30 to 100 years for the shooting death of officer James Ramp during a police siege of the group’s communal home on 8 August 1978.

She emerged from the correctional institution to be reunited with her son, Michael Davis Africa Jr, to whom she gave birth in a prison cell in September 1978, a month after her arrest.

“This is huge for us personally,” Sims Africa told the Guardian, speaking from her son’s home in a small town on the outskirts of Philadelphia where she will now live.

Davis Africa, 39, who was separated from his mother at less than a week old and has never spent time with her outside prison, said they were coming to terms with being reunited after almost four decades.

Michael Davis Africa Jr

Michael Davis Africa Jr on reunited with his mother: ‘There’s so much we haven’t done together.’
Photograph: Ed Pilkington for the Guardian

“Today I had breakfast with my mother for the first time,” he said. “There’s so much we haven’t done together.”

The release of Debbie Sims Africa is a major breakthrough regarding the ongoing incarceration of large numbers of individuals involved in the black liberation movement of the late 1960s and 1970s who are now growing old behind bars. At least 25 men and women belonging to Move or the former Black Panther party remain locked up, in some cases almost half a century after their arrests.

Sims Africa’s release also addresses one of the most hotly contested criminal justice cases in Philadelphia history. The nine were prosecuted together following a police siege of their headquarters in Powelton Village at the orders of Philadelphia’s notoriously hardline mayor and former police commissioner, Frank Rizzo.

Move, which exists today, regarded itself as a revolutionary movement committed to a healthy life free from oppression or pollution. In the 1970s it was something of a cross between black liberationists and early environmental activists. Its members all take “Africa” as their last name, to signal that they see each other as family.

Hundreds of police officers, organized in Swat teams and armed with machine guns, water cannons, tear gas and bulldozers, were involved in the siege, which came at the end of a long standoff with the group relating to complaints about conditions in its premises. Two water cannon and smoke bombs were unleashed. The Move residents took refuge in a basement.

Sims Africa was eight months pregnant and was carrying her two-year-old daughter, Michelle. “We were being battered with high-powered water and smoke was everywhere,” she said. “I couldn’t see my hands in front of my face and I was choking. I had to feel my way up the stairs to get out of the basement with my baby in my arms.”

Shooting broke out and Ramp was killed by a single bullet. Prosecutors alleged that Move members fired the fatal shot and charged Sims Africa and the other eight with collective responsibility for his death.

Eyewitnesses, however, gave accounts suggesting that the shot may have come from the opposite direction to the basement, raising the possibility that Ramp was accidentally felled, by police fire. After the raid was over, weapons were found within the property. None were in operative condition.

In 1985, Philadelphia authorities carried out an even more controversial and deadly action against the remaining members of Move. A police helicopter dropped an incendiary bomb on to the roof of its then HQ in West Philadelphia, killing six adults including the group’s leader, John Africa, and five of their children.

That incident continues to have the distinction of being the only aerial bombing by police carried out on US soil.

At Debbie Sims Africa’s trial, no evidence was presented that she or the three other women charged alongside her had brandished or handled firearms during the siege. Nor was there any attempt on the part of the prosecution to prove that they had had any role in firing the shot that killed Ramp.

Sims Africa has had an unblemished disciplinary record in prison for the past 25 years. The last claim of misconduct against her dates to 1992.

Her attorneys presented the parole board with a 13-page dossier outlining her work as a mentor to other prisoners and as a dog handler who trains puppies that assist people with physical and cognitive disabilities. The dossier includes testimony from the correctional expert Martin Horn, who reviewed her record and concluded it was “remarkable.”

Original article in Guardian at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jun/18/debbie-sims-africa-free-prison-move-nine-philadelphia-police

Pack the Court for Mumia!

Mobilize for Mumia!

MON., FEB. 26, 8 AM
Status Report for Mumia
Criminal Justice Center,
1301 Filbert Street,
Room 1108,
Philadelphia, PA;
Get directions
TUES., FEB. 27, 8 AM
Court Hearing for Mumia
Criminal Justice Center,
1301 Filbert Street,
Room 1108,
Philadelphia, PA;
Get directions

Pam Africa speaks to rally at Philly CourtIn a court case that could eventually lead to Mumia Abu-Jamal’s freedom, Judge Leon Tucker has ordered the District Attorney’s office to present new testimony in reference to Ronald Castille, on Monday, February 26, 2018. Castille is a former PA Supreme Court judge who refused to disqualify himself when Mumia’s case came before the court despite having been the Philadelphia District Attorney during Mumia’s prior appeals. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that such conduct is unconstitutional.

On Tuesday, February 27, 2018, we will be back in court to hear the court’s decision on Mumia’s appeal. Come to the courthouse to let them know that we demand they comply with the precedent: Mumia should never have had one of his appeals heard by a judge who was formerly the DA fighting his prior appeals – and NO ONE SHOULD! Mumia should win the right to have his appeal heard fairly!

Pack the Court for Mumia!
The people’s movement forced the courts to take Abu-Jamal off death row in 2011 but his freedom was not won. Despite his innocence, he was re-sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

As an innocent man, Mumia must be freed! It is even more urgent that he gains his freedom because he is suffering from cirrhosis of the liver, severe itching and other ailments threatening his life.

Get flyer.

 

Led by: International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal (ICFFMAJ) and The MOVE Organization and Mobilization to Free Mumia

Endorsed by: Educators for Mumia, International Action Center; Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (NYC); Campaign to Bring Mumia Home; Mobilization to Free Mumia (California); Oakland Teachers for Mumia; Committee to Save Mumia; Prison Radio; Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, Oakland, CA; Free Mumia Network, GERMANY (Free Mumia Berlin, Free Mumia Frankfurt, Free Mumia Heidelberg, and Free Mumia Nurnberg); French Collective Libérons Mumia, FRANCE; Saint-Denis Mumia Committee, FRANCE; Amig@s de Mumia de México, MEXICO; Frantz Fanon Foundation; International Workers Committee Against War and Exploitation; United Steelworkers; Local 8751,  School Bus Drivers Union; and more

Conscience Mind Talent Showcase

MOVE youth performersFebrary 15, 2018 at 7:00 PM

Hip Hop / R&B / Poetry / B-Boy Dancers / Live DJ

Revolution!

$10 spectator fee
The Rotunda
4014 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
For more info: (267) 456-2880
TheSeedofWisdomFoundation@gmail.com
FB and IG: @TheSeedofWisdomFoundation

FRAMED IN AMERICA: THE MAKING OF POLITICAL PRISONERS

Free the MOVE 9 - 40 Years Too Long!Sat., February 24, 2018,
The National Black Theatre,
2031 5th Avenue (corner 125th St.),
Harlem, NY  10035

Join:
Ramona Africa, Fred Hampton Jr., Pam Africa, Roger Wareham, Betty Davis, Ralph Poynter, Johanna Fernandez
As They Rally For Parole For Move Political Prisoners in 2018

Program: 5 – 8 pm
Dinner on sale: 4 pm
Vendors Village: 4 pm

For Program and Vending Reservations call (347) 641-2773 or go to OnaMove.com

Event live streaming at PictureTheStruggle.org

FREE THE MOVE 9!

For more info contact  (215) 386-1165 and onamovellja@aol.com

MOVE bombing will be the subject of Philadelphia opera fest world premiere

David Patrick Stearns, Music Critic
Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News/Philly.com

MOVE OperaWhat started as a “hip h’opera” involving student poets in public schools has evolved into what will be perhaps the most daring show in Opera Philadelphia’s O17 festival this fall: We Shall Not be Moved, about modern-day displaced kids confronting the ghosts of the notorious 1985 MOVE bombing.

Details about the project have just been released in advance of the Sept. 16-24 performances at the Wilma Theater. The Philadelphia world premiere will be followed by runs at New York’s Apollo Theater and London’s Hackney Empire. The message from the creative team, most of whom are not from Philadelphia, is this: The opera doesn’t take a position or even dramatize the showdown between MOVE and local police that ended with the bombing that burned an extensive section of West Philadelphia.

“We’re not reopening the wound. The wound is present … and that’s true of so many things in American history,” said librettist Marc Bamuthi Joseph, 41. “It’s about how do we responsibly ask questions … in a past that’s never really lost.”

“First and foremost, this is … a musical theater experience with serious questions at its core,” said the much-honored director/choreographer Bill T. Jones, 65. “People are kind of nervous about it … and though we’ve watched many hours of documentary footage … the question is what is truth and reconciliation here.”

Those posing the questions are five teen runaways who take refuge in abandoned buildings on the original MOVE site (which was on Osage Avenue in West Philadelphia). Each teen represents a particular aspect of modern urban life: one is transgender, another is white yet identifies as African American, and so on. All are haunted by the ghosts of children who died in the 1985 fire. Added to all that is a tough Latina police officer whose provocative lines include “The one with the gun has the moral high ground, no?” The operatic score is not likely to sound like Carmen. The eclectic composer is Haitian American Daniel Bernard Roumain, who has worked intensively with Jones in years past.

Modern parallels with police violence were almost accidental, said Joseph. The project began around 2013, when he was working with student poets, in conjunction with the City of Philadelphia and Art Sanctuary. He had a mandate from Opera Philadelphia: determine whether an operatic theater piece could be drawn from their work. What struck Joseph was the absence of active awareness of the past in a social-media generation that exists in the present amid a near-forgotten yesterday, not to mention a major historic event such as the MOVE bombing. He first drafted the libretto in 2014, and by the end of the year, he pitched the idea to Opera Philadelphia. Nobody flinched.

What started as a “hip h’opera” involving student poets in public schools has evolved into what will be perhaps the most daring show in Opera Philadelphia’s O17 festival this fall: We Shall Not be Moved, about modern-day displaced kids confronting the ghosts of the notorious 1985 MOVE bombing.

Details about the project have just been released in advance of the Sept. 16-24 performances at the Wilma Theater. The Philadelphia world premiere will be followed by runs at New York’s Apollo Theater and London’s Hackney Empire. The message from the creative team, most of whom are not from Philadelphia, is this: The opera doesn’t take a position or even dramatize the showdown between MOVE and local police that ended with the bombing that burned an extensive section of West Philadelphia.

“We’re not reopening the wound. The wound is present … and that’s true of so many things in American history,” said librettist Marc Bamuthi Joseph, 41. “It’s about how do we responsibly ask questions … in a past that’s never really lost.”

“First and foremost, this is  … a musical theater experience with serious questions at its core,” said the much-honored director/choreographer Bill T. Jones, 65. “People are kind of nervous about it … and though we’ve watched many hours of documentary footage … the question is what is truth and reconciliation here.”

Those posing the questions are five teen runaways who take refuge in abandoned buildings on the original MOVE site (which was on Osage Avenue in West Philadelphia). Each teen represents a particular aspect of modern urban life: one is transgender, another is white yet identifies as African American, and so on. All are haunted by the ghosts of children who died in the 1985 fire. Added to all that is a tough Latina police officer whose provocative lines include “The one with the gun has the moral high ground, no?” The operatic score is not likely to sound like Carmen. The eclectic composer is Haitian American Daniel Bernard Roumain, who has worked intensively with Jones in years past.

Modern parallels with police violence were almost accidental, said Joseph. The project began around 2013, when he was working with student poets, in conjunction with the City of Philadelphia and Art Sanctuary. He had a mandate from Opera Philadelphia: determine whether an operatic theater piece could be drawn from their work. What struck Joseph was the absence of active awareness of the past in a social-media generation that exists in the present amid a near-forgotten yesterday, not to mention a major historic event such as the MOVE bombing. He first drafted the libretto in 2014, and by the end of the year, he pitched the idea to Opera Philadelphia. Nobody flinched. 

As much as the MOVE disaster has been examined, the librettist had some startling revelations from interviewing survivors. “There were white children who died in the fire,” he said. “MOVE is painted as a separatist group, which is probably right, but also segregated, which is totally wrong.” The libretto, in fact, wasn’t finished until March, which makes the final gestation of the piece incredibly fast by operatic standards. This process usually takes years.

Jones describes the project as being in “mid-stroke,” with creative-team members making their own lists of priorities. However, dance is likely to be prominent, if only because Jones is a choreographer, and he has hired Raphael Xavier, an alum of Philadelphia dance company Rennie Harris Puremovement, to supply more hip-hop elements. Joseph calls the approach “choreographic poetry … the idea that poetry can be spoken through the body.” Especially the ghosts.

Roumain wasn’t available for comment, but Jones pointed out that the term opera has been defined more loosely in recent years. The score is expected to have the gravity of opera but with surface elements of  gospel, jazz, and African folklore. A video element is particularly in a state of artistic flux but may be used to set the historic context of the original MOVE tragedy.

Much will be decided after rehearsals begin in August, during which We Shall Not Be Moved will be in production along with four other productions: a Komische Oper Berlin production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute Sept. 15-24 at the Academy of Music, Kevin Puts’ Elizabeth Cree Sept. 14-23 at the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater, a Monteverdi/Lembit Beecher double bill titled War Stories Sept. 16-23 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and David Hertzberg’s The Wake World Sept. 18-25 at the Barnes Foundation.

The We Shall Not Be Moved company has roughly a month to pull together a hybrid work for which few clear templates exist. Yet Jones is tentatively confident: “We don’t often work in such a complicated palette. But I’m committed to keeping things smiling,” he said. “They [the collaborators] are ambitious and talented, and I think it’s going to be all right. Sometimes I’m very stern. The [set building] shop is doing three or four productions. But they’re very organized and the spirit is in a good place right now.”

Note from Ramona:

ONA MOVE, family, and friends! You may be aware that an opera based on MOVE (We Shall Not Be Moved) has been produced and opens at The Wilma Theatre in Philadelphia on Saturday, September 16th. What you, our NYC area friends, may not know is that this same opera will be at The Apollo Theatre on Friday, October 6th and Saturday, October 7th. I understand that tickets are $28.50 and $53.50 but double check that. For our friends in and around London in the UK, this opera based on MOVE, will open at The Hackney Empire from October 14th through the 21st. Ticket prices depend on where you want to sit. Hope some of our friends in and around the London area will be able to attend one of the performances. Be well and lots of love—–Ramona